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This Human Season by Louise Dean

This Human Season

by Louise Dean

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1176103,116 (3.57)7



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Really interesting novel about Belfast in the late 1970s told from several pov - the mother of a prisoner, a British prison guard, the community priest. Very sympathetic to the human condition rather than one side or the other. One plotline went where I thought it would go, the other was a total and rather wonderful surprise. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
I didn't make to read this one yet, although I bought it a long time ago...
  truth_of_spirit | Aug 29, 2010 |
I didn't make to read this one yet, although I bought it a long time ago...
  the_unicorn | Nov 20, 2009 |
This Human Season is set in Belfast in 1979, and is the intertwining story of two very different people, each struggling in his or her way to hold on to the things they believe in and to the families they cherish and are compelled to protect.

Kathleen is a beautiful housewife, fighting a daily battle to hold her family together – a drunken, irresponsible and unstable husband, a son Sean who is imprisoned in the notorious Long Kesh prison for IRA activities, and two younger children who are already world-weary and yet attracted to the violence they shouldn't be inured to. Kathleen's desire to protect her family is fierce and unwavering.

John Dunn has just finished serving twenty years in the British Army, and now lives in Belfast , where he works in the Long Kesh prison. The work is difficult and revolting, but the pay is quite good, and it enables him to buy a small house and a reliable car, and to start a respectable life with his new girlfriend and newly discovered teenage son. To John, this is worth the nights of excruciating work, and the hardship of coming home in the morning with his boots and clothes reeking of urine and shit, with which the prisoners coat the floors and walls of their cells because there is no other way to handle it. Prison warden's orders.

In prison, John meets Kathleen's son Sean, a quiet, meditative young man who can sing like and angel. In speaking with prisoners such as Sean and witnessing the inhumane way in which the prisoners are treated, John begins to question the very foundation upon which he has built his career, and indeed, his very life.

Louise Dean's writing is difficult to read at times, but the horrifying poignancy makes it worthwhile. Her ear for dialogue is impeccable. She wrote this novel while living in France , and it is astonishing, knowing this, to hear the perfect Irish lilts and the rhythm of the language. She is a prodigiously talented writer, and the TurboBookSnob thinks it was a tragedy that This Human Season did not make the 2005 Booker Longlist.
1 vote TurboBookSnob | Jan 17, 2008 |
You really get all sides of the Troubles in this novel set in Northern Ireland just before the hunger strike in the early 1980's. Dean switches points of view frequently and at times this was distracting. I would have rather stayed with each character a little longer. Overall I enjoyed the book. Hated the end. ( )
  Alirambles | May 15, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151012539, Hardcover)

November 1979, the height of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Kathleen Moran’s son Sean has just been transferred to the hypersecure H-block in Belfast’s notorious Maze prison, where he soon emerges as a young but impor­tant force in the extreme protest, known as the Blanket, that political prisoners are staging there. John Dunn is also newly arrived at the prison, having taken on the job of guard—a brutal but effective way to support a house and a girlfriend, the domestic dream. 
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, no one’s dreams go untroubled. As rumors of a hunger strike begin to circulate, Louise Dean’s pitch-perfect novel places two parents, two sons, and two enemies on a collision course that ends in a surprising and deeply resonant climax.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Incarcerated within Belfast's notorious Maze prison in the weeks before Christmas in 1979, Sean Moran emerges as a key player in the extreme Blanket protest at the height of Northern Ireland's Troubles, an uprising witnessed by new guard John Dunn.

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